JUDAS PRIEST members Rob Halford (vocals), Glenn Tipton (guitar) and K.K. Downing (guitar) recently spoke to Revolver magazine about Halford's return to the group's lineup and their new album, "Angel of Retribution". Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Revolver: "Angel of Retribution" is a very metal album title.
Rob Halford: "It needed to be. I said to the guys, 'We've got to get away from the one-word experience: 'Painkiller', 'Demolition', 'Jugulator'.' I think it's important to recapture some of the poetry of statements like 'Sad Wings of Destiny', 'Screaming for Vengeance', 'Defenders of the Faith'."
Revolver: You've brought back the angel from "Sad Wings from Destiny" for the cover art.
Rob Halford: "We're not a political band by any means, but the title is also partially a reflection on today's state of the world. There's so much retribution going on, whether it's Enron or accounting scandals or the Roman Catholic Church. People are finally being held accountable for their actions."
Revolver: You reference other past album titles in some of the new lyrics.
Glenn Tipton: "There's a lot of revisitation because we feel this is a reunion album, and it's supposed to epitomize everything that's gone on in our career.'
Rob Halford: "We wanted to look back at where we've come from. 'Deal with the Devil' talks about rehearsing in Holy Joe's, which was a tiny rehearsal room attached to a primary school across the street from a church, and the local reverend was called Joe. He was nicknamed Holy Joe, andf he was always drunk on the consecrational wine. Those were the days."
Revolver: When you're drawing from past glories, you run the risk of being driven by nostalgia.
Rob Halford: "JUDAS PRIEST will never be a nostalgia band. That's part of our longevity. We've never rested on our laurels."
K.K. Downing: "It's more about refamiliarizing people with something they used to love. Towards the end of the Eighties, people didn't want hair bands, stage clothes, or theatrics — all the things that were a lot of fun, really. So with this album we're saying, 'It's cool for you to like this. You grew up with this music. It was playing the first time you got drunk. The first girl you fucked was in the back of the car listening to it. It's still a part of you.'"
Revolver: The "Angel of Retribution" song "Worth Fighting For" is a classic power ballad about a dysfunctional relationship. If you were to shoot a video for the song, would you make the relationship male/female?
Rob Halford: "If it was up to me, I would do a boy/boy relationship."
Revolver: Would you?
Rob Halford: "Yeah, because I'm a homosexual. So there's a debate. Maybe we should do a bunch of videos. We should do boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl, transgender/transgender, black/white, Roman Catholic/Jew, Protestant/Quaker. That would cover all the bases. [Sighs] I don't know. Maybe we best stay the normal course of events, and out a man and a woman together. But I see Herb Ritts all over it, and that's gonna cost an arm and a leg, so it probably won't be made into a video."
JUDAS PRIEST's complete interview with Revolver appears in the magazine's April 2005 issue, out now.